Brewer-Clifton 2004 Melville Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills)

It's odd that while the alcohol here is lower than on the winery's Rancho Santa Rosa bottling, the wine tastes hotter, with a pepper spice note that actually complements the ripe, exotic tropical fruit, pear and buttercream flavors. This is a very big, complex wine, long-lasting in the finish and impressive for the way its mass is balanced and contained.

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